In timing that probably has as much to do with the end of the season as it does with renewed focus on the Wrigley Field renovation efforts, Chicago Cubs Owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts wrote an editorial for the Sun-Times in which he discussed the Cubs’ disappointing 2012 season, hopeful future, the the organization’s/family’s contributions to the community.
Well, the baseball season of 2012 is in the books. It was a disappointing season, but I hope fans understand there are better days ahead. We bought this team because we are committed to delivering Cubs fans the World Series championship they deserve. We believe this season represents the first step to delivering on that promise.
Baseball Operations President Theo Epstein, General Manager Jed Hoyer and the entire Cubs organization are working day and night to put together a championship organization — from A-ball to the major league club. We are building the team toward a future of sustained success with a youth movement. We are investing in our player development system, both in terms of talent and facilities. We are building a nucleus of solid young players to perform around shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
All about what you would expect, with the heaviest emphasis on the player development piece of the puzzle. I imagine some folks will read more into this than is actually there (no free agents!?! Ricketts is cheap!!1!!lol!!!), but Ricketts is just doing what the front office has been doing: highlighting the progress in the farm system while keeping expectations in check for the immediate future.
Ricketts also emphasized the Cubs’ involvement in the Chicago community:
We are also working on being championship-caliber corporate citizens. We want to thank our fans and this great city with a committed community investment program. Under the leadership of my sister Laura, Cubs Charities has doubled the amount it raises and contributes to scores of Chicago-area charities. An important pillar to Cubs charitable giving is to support health and fitness. So I am looking forward to breaking ground this week on Kerry Wood Cubs Field near Lane Tech High School on Chicago’s North Side.
We heard that the city of Chicago has a shortage of baseball fields that meet Illinois High School Association playoff standards — and that’s wrong because a great city like Chicago deserves the best. So, with an investment of nearly $5 million, “Kerry Wood Cubs Field” will create a top-flight stadium for Chicago’s young baseball players ….
Besides showing that my family and the Cubs are evangelists for the game of baseball, Cubs Field is also a very visible sign of my family’s commitment to Chicago.
Since we took over the Cubs in October 2009, the Chicago Cubs Charities has donated more than $4 million to non-profit organizations across Chicago ….
These are just some of the ways we’ve invested in the city we love.
Obviously it isn’t all about money, but it’s pretty clear that Ricketts is underscoring the money that the Cubs and the Ricketts family, personally, have given back to Chicago. I’m not going to say this is all about the Wrigley funding issue, but, together with highlighting how much revenue the Cubs bring to the city of Chicago and its businesses, it can’t hurt to point out – by dollar amount – how much the Cubs are giving back to charitable causes in Chicago.
But, also, sincerely, this kind of stuff is about just being a positive influence in the community that makes your enterprise possible in the first place. It’s just the right thing to do.
The groundbreaking on that Kerry Wood Cubs Field, by the way, is in about 15 minutes.